To help prospective missionary candidates determine if they should apply earlier, the LDS Church just published an article entitled "Missionary Preparation: When Should I Serve?" They remind people that because they can serve earlier doesn’t mean they have to, and that candidates should be sure they're ready. Aside from studying the scriptures, especially the Book of Mormon, candidates should study "Preach My Gospel" and "The Missionary Handbook". They should be able to teach the lessons found in chapter three of Preach My Gospel and should have a personal testimony. Prospective missionaries don’t need to have all the answers, but they should know how to find answers through study and prayer. In addition, prospective missionaries must also be able to take care of themselves, including doing laundry, sewing on buttons, making meals, living on a budget, and so forth. They should be sure to practice proper hygiene and can handle the physical demands. This may require learning new skills or adjusting one's personal lifestyle.
Above all, do NOT allow overzealous parents, competitive peers, or well-intentioned ward and stake leaders to bully you into going on a mission. You could end up resenting the experience, misrepresenting the Church, driving away prospective converts, and, at worst, being sent home early for disciplinary reasons. Accept a mission call for one reason, and ONLY for one reason -- because you love the Lord, and want to serve Him. D&C 4:3–5 states, “If ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;" The last six words are important, for although Church leaders say it is the duty of all young men to aspire to missionary service, the Lord may not call you in that direction for one reason or another. It is not unheard of for a faithful young man not to be called on a mission, and still faithfully serve the Lord in His church for a lifetime. Thomas S. Monson did not serve a full-time mission because he served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, and look where he ended up.
But don't use President Monson as an excuse, because he is the exception rather than the rule among the General Authorities.
Reaction: While there are the typical sampling of anti-Mormon comments posted to the video, the majority are supportive. Here are some of the more noteworthy comments:
Anna Nielsen 10 hours ago:
I put in my papers two days ago and I was worrying some about where I might be sent, but this video and some wonderfully supportive friends helped me see that it doesn't matter where I serve, so long as I serve with all my heart, might, mind, and strength. I'm so excited to devote my life to the service of God!
Catherine Hahn 2 days ago:
I was recently baptized, and hope to serve a mission either in the near future or as a senior couple. This touched me beyond words. I am so grateful to now be a part of this incredible church after waiting for 4 years to be baptized. The wait was worth it, and I'm so thankful I was able to use that time spreading the gospel with the missionaries.
This made my testimony even stronger. thank you for sharing and good luck Elders and Sisters!!!
Till the whole world hears,
Gina Denny 2 days ago:
This video has actually served as a missionary tool. Some of my non-member friends have watched it an asked questions about missions, missionaries, and the church in general. Thank you for taking the time to put this together, and congrats to a phenomenal group of young people!
87TheBends 2 days ago:
I am not even a Mormon, but a stalwart Atheist, yet I was extremely affected by this video. It truly shows your church's wonderful thankfulness and kindness, and I was moved to tears by the ardent passion you have for your beliefs and church. Bravo!
Nancy Morrison 3 days ago:
Elder Sam O'Brien.....we will see you in Alaska! Kodiak is the best area....hopefullly you will make it down here! You will love Alaska and all the wonderful people.
TheBlueStarAK 3 days ago:
I live in the Alaska Anchorage mission area. I am hoping to get the pleasure of meeting Elder O'Brien in the near future!